Paget Rangers stormed to the final of the Les James Challenge Cup with a resounding 5-0 win over Northfield Town, at Shenley Lane.
The Bears led 2-0 at half time thanks to two goals from Daniel Carter, Paget’s lethal striker completed his hat trick in the second half before Ross Dempster got two for himself, sealing the 5-0 win in South Birmingham.
Possession was the name of the game for Northfield as the home side looked to control the game from the offset, but Paget showed they were more than happy to be patient and caused Northfield problems whenever they were on the ball. The away side could have taken an early lead when Junior looked to play Daniel Carter through, but no dice.
The home side looked threatening from crosses but Josh Benton was more than comfortable in the air, frustratingly for the high flying MFL Division Three side.
Northfield were frustrated further in the 17th minute when the game came to a halt due to a clash between Rio and Josh McGinley, with the later coming out worse for wear, which meant Paget striker Mark Bellingham was tasked with bandaging the Northfield player up.
The break turned out not to be detrimental to the home side as McGinley’s replacement, Lewis Jones, dragged a shot just wide minutes after play resumed.
Just four minutes later it was Paget’s turn and they wouldn’t waste their chance, after Billy Fagg slotted the ball through to Carter, Paget’s top goalscorer made no mistake as he sent the ball past Shaun Hayes and into the back of the net, making it 1-0 to the visitors.
Despite being 1-0 down the home side kept the pressure on in the hope of a quick response but it was the Bears who scored the next goal.
It didn’t take long for the Bears to extend their lead as poor defending allowed Carter to poke the ball just over the line, despite the valiant efforts of a Northfield defender, giving the visitors a two goal lead.
Two Northfield corners threatened to reduce Paget’s lead, but the home side couldn’t capitalise. Up the other end Bellingham was given enough time and space to put a low and dangerous cross in the box, but no one was there to make it three.
Despite piling on the pressure Northfield couldn’t find what would be a crucial goal before half time and the Bears went into the break with the lead.
After the break it was the Wee Gers who had most of the possession and an early chance for Junior could have buried Northfield’s hopes of getting back into the game just minutes into the second half. Moments later David Arrowsmith provided Bellingham with a great long ball but Paget’s record breaking goalscorer couldn’t reach it.
Only a minute later Carter steered the ball around the Northfield goalkeeper, but somehow couldn’t find the net. It was three near misses for the home side and it must have woke them up, as they attempted to take back control of the game.
Disaster struck for the home side when Michael Skerrett attempted to head Arrowsmith’s clearance back to Hayes, but Carter intercepted and slotted the ball past the Town keeper to give Paget a strong 3-0 lead.
With just over 20 minutes to play Fagg started to cause Northfield some problems as Paget searched for a fourth, a great interception from Adam Williams denied Junior a great opportunity at goal, minutes later a great over the top ball to Dempster was snuffed out by Hayes.
Dempster didn’t need to wait long to get on the scoresheet, with just over 10 minutes to go he latched onto Matthew Seeley’s pass and sent the ball past Hayes.
It didn’t take long for Dempster to find the net again, just three minutes later he fired the ball in the net at the back post, rounding off the scoring,
With the final very much out of reach Northfield’s aim was to ruin the party and deny the Paget goalkeeper and defence a clean sheet. They would have succeeded if it wasn’t for Paget’s matchday captain Craig Gasiewski who denied the home side a late goal clearing the ball off the line.
The Bears now look to gain promotion before playing the final at Walsall’s Banks’s Stadium on the 16th May.
Updated 19:17 - 5 Mar 2017 by Joshua Smith